Celebrate Spring with these Fun Family Outings

March 19, 2015

Japanese Tea GardenSpring officially begins this Friday, March 20 (although it seems like it's been here for a few weeks already). Daylight saving time is here, the weather is getting warmer, wildflowers are in bloom, and there are plenty of fun things for families to do. Here are some of our favorite springtime family events and outings in Marin and the San Francisco Bay Area. What's your family's favorite spring event?

Six Spectacular Spring Hikes for Families in Marin

March 17, 2015

Ring Mountain Wildflowers

Spring in California is spectacular, with an abundance of wildflowers, seasonal waterfalls (if it rains, of course), and wildlife. Before the summer heat bakes the new green hillside grass brown, get the family out on the trail at one of these great Marin hiking spots.

These hikes are perfect for a family outing at almost any time of year, but are especially nice during the spring. All the trails mentioned here are easy enough for everyone in the family to tackle, too.

Join the Southern Marin Mothers' Club at the Community Counts Party

March 17, 2015

SMMC Community Counts PartyIf you ever thought about joining the Southern Marin Mothers' Club, now is the time! The Southern Marin Mothers' Club (SMMC) is a non-profit organization with over 1,500 members from all over Marin. It's a great way to connect with other parents, learn through educational events, and find playgroups for your kids.

Join SMMC for an exciting parents' night out at their second annual Community Counts Partner Party on Tuesday March 24, from 6–8:30 pm at the Mill Valley Community Center. Mingle with friends and enjoy wine from wineries including Artesa and Bix; appetizers and refreshments from Grilly's Tiburon Grill, Pasta Pomodoro, and others; dessert from Nothing Bundt Cakes; prizes; and tons of freebies from over 40 SMMC Community Counts Partners. Complimentary on-site babysitting will even be provided by UrbanSitter!

The event is free and exclusive to SMMC members and their partners, but if you'd like to attend, you can sign up to become a member at the door. You can also join SMMC online at www.southernmarinmoms.com. This event is a great introduction to all SMMC has to offer, so if you were thinking of becoming a member, now is a great time. Come to this event, meet some new friends, and see how much fun membership with SMMC is!

Three-Cheese Mac and Cheese with Cauliflower

March 16, 2015

mac and cheese with cauliflowerWho doesn't love macaroni and cheese? The stuff in the box pales in comparison to the homemade kind, which has been gracing American dining tables since Thomas Jefferson served it up at a state dinner in 1802. While it's delicious, it's not the healthiest thing you can make, but we try to make it a little more wholesome by adding fresh veggies, in this case cauliflower, which blends in nicely with the macaroni and white-cheddar cheese sauce.

My kids actually like cauliflower, so this isn't one of those "hide the vegetables and hope they don't notice" recipes, although if you wanted to cut the cauliflower up into little pieces it might work that way. You can also use broccoli or whatever other veggie you can think of. I happen to think that the cauliflower goes particularly well with it.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound elbow macaroni or other tubular pasta
  • 4 cups cauliflower florets (about half a head)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter

Camps and Family Fun at Mill Valley Recreation

March 16, 2015

Mill Valley RecreationMarin Mommies presents a sponsored article from Mill Valley Recreation.

It might still be chilly in the morning but summer is right around the corner and registration has started! Did you know that there is fun for the whole family at the Mill Valley Recreation?

We have programs for people of all ages, from the smallest crawlers to the seasoned pros. Whether you want to be an Olympic athlete or the next big rock star, we have just the camp for you.

Camp Overview

Our most popular camp is the Splash Camp for incoming Kindergarten to 6th graders. It’s a special 2 weeks filled with fun and swim. Monday through Thursday you will start your day with a swim lesson taught by ARC Instructors, then camp continues with arts and crafts, sports and games, cooking, and more!

Meet the Midwives of Marin

March 15, 2015

Midwives of MarinMoms-to-be planning to deliver their babies at Marin General Hospital can take advantage of the hospital's and Prima Medical Group's Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM) for prenatal, labor and delivery, and postnatal care.

A midwife is a trained professional with special expertise in pregnancy and delivery in low-risk, healthy women. The midwives at Marin General Hospital are all registered nurses with a MA in nursing or public health and are certified through the American College of Nurse-Midwives, which works in conjunction with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Marin General Hospital is in fact the only hospital in Marin or San Francisco that offers midwife services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The 2015 Marin Summer Activities & Camp Fair takes Place Today

March 15, 2015

Marin Summer Activities & Camp FairIf you're trying to make a decision on the perfect summer camp for your kids, save the date for the upcoming Marin Summer Activities & Camp Fair, which takes place today Sunday, March 15 from 10 am to 1 pm at Conlan Center Gymnasium at the Dominican University of California in San Rafael.

As in years past the Marin Summer Activities & Camp Fair will offer plenty of fun for everyone, with free pizza, fun prizes for kids, and a bounce house, as well as representatives from dozens of summer camps. This year the fair is expanding to include other summer options like tutoring and activities, too! Older campers in middle school and high school are encouraged to attend as well.

Easy and Delicious Slow-Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage for St. Patrick's Day

March 14, 2015

Slow-cooker corned beef and cabbageSt. Patrick's Day is coming up, and for many that means it's time to cook that quintessential Irish-American dish: corned beef and cabbage. Corned beef—usually a tough cut of meat like brisket or round—requires long, slow, cooking over low heat to make it tender, so it's the perfect candidate for preparing in your slow cooker.

Start your corned beef in the slow cooker early in the day; there's a minimal amount of preparation involved. Some recipes call for adding most of the vegetables at the same time, but I think they turn out a bit overcooked. Instead, add them to the pot during the last two hours of cooking.

With the proliferation of vegetables cooked with the meat, there's something here for everyone in the family. Serve your corned beef accompanied by grainy mustard, horseradish sauce*, and gravy** made from the cooking liquid. Also, when it comes to corned beef, bigger is better. Much of the weight of the meat is water, and it shrinks in size during cooking, so budget about one pound of meat per diner for a generous serving and leftovers (think corned beef sandwiches… mmm…). This recipe serves about 4 people, depending on how hungry everybody is.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for March 13, 14 & 15

March 14, 2015
Ring Mountain Open Space Preserve
Explore Ring Mountain Open Space Preserve near Tiburon this weekend for spring wildflowers, amazing views, and wildlife.

Here are our picks for great events and activities for children and families this weekend. Find more events for the whole week in Marin and throughout the Bay Area in our Family Events Calendar.

Friday, March 13

  • Breakfast with Enzo
    Sports Basement, San Francisco Presidio
    Friday, 10 & 11 am

    Enzo Garcia plays guitar, banjo, accordion, musical saw, Jew's harp, enzotar, appalachian dulcimer, slide flute, percussion and more. Recommended for children 7 and under. Drop in any time. Cost: $7 per person; siblings under 7 months free. For more info, call (415) 652-2474 or visit his website.
  • Free Spring Concert Series: The McNulty Trio
    Downtown Novato, City Hall
    Friday, 6–8 pm

    Bring the entire family to Novato's Downtown City Hall for the free spring concert series featuring some traditional Irish music in honor of St. Patrick's Day. Location: 901 Sherman Ave in Downtown Novato. For more info, visit their website.
  • Mary Poppins: The Musical
    San Rafael Community Center
    Friday, 7:30 pm, Saturday, 1 pm & Sunday, 3 pm

    Mary Poppins takes the children on many magical and memorable adventures, but Jane and Michael aren't the only ones she has a profound effect upon. Even grown-ups can learn a lesson or two from the nanny who advises that "Anything can happen if you let it." and all irreverent fun for everyone! Tickets: $20. Purchase tickets here. Location: 618 B Street, San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, March 14

  • Free Day at the Exploratorium
    San Francisco
    Friday, 10 am–5 pm

    Five annual free days are just one way the Exploratorium remains accessible to everyone, regardless of a person’s ability to pay the cost of admission. This time celebrate Pi Day (3.14) with free admission. Location: Pier 15 (Embarcadero at Green St), San Francisco. For more info, call (415) 528-4444 or visit their website.
  • Ocean Exploration Family Farm Day
    Slide Ranch, Muir Beach
    Saturday, 10 am–2 pm

    Enjoy ocean-themed activities and a hike to the tide pools. The low tide will reveal sea stars, anemones, and many other marine creatures for you to discover. Each family will receive a free copy of the book, Exploring Low Tide in Northern California. Cost: $25 per person; kids age 2 and under are free. Location: Highway 1 (Shoreline Highway), Muir Beach. For more info, call (415) 381-6155 or visit their website.
  • Kids Cooking Class: Pancake Party
    Williams-Sonoma, Corte Madera
    Saturday, 10 am

    Stir up some delicious fun at the next class at the 52 New Foods series! Let’s have a pancake party! We’ll make the batter and flip some flapjacks. You can personalize yours with some good-for-you foods like walnuts, coconut, and flax. We’ll also teach you how to make a hazelnut-chocolate spread, to top everything off. Suitable for ages 5–13. Call the store to reserve your spot (415) 924-6799. Location: The Village at Corte Madera. For more info, visit their website.
  • Roll at Rush Creek
    Rush Creek Preserve, Novato
    Saturday, 10 am–noon

    Families can come join Ranger Ian McLorg for a morning ride along the marsh at Rush Creek Preserve. This activity is moderate. Don’t forget to bring water and your bike. We'll provide healthy snacks. Location: Meet at the Pinheiro Fire Road gate off Binford Road. For more info, visit their website.
  • Open House: Bouverie Preserve
    Glen Ellen
    Saturday, 10 am–4 pm

    Hike the trails, learn from docents and enjoy the 500-acre preserve in the Valley of the Moon. Location: 13935 Sonoma Hwy, Glen Ellen.  For more info,call (707) 938-4554 or visit their website.
  • Creative Family Fun: Corncob Pencil Holders
    Presidio Officers' Club, San Francisco
    Saturday & Sunday, 11 am–4 pm

    Swing by the Presidio Officers’ Club to make your own corn-y pencil holder. Best for kids aged 5 to 12 years. Drop-in anytime between 11 am and 4 pm. Free. Read about our visit to the Officers' Club here. Location: 50 Moraga Avenue, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • Storytime: Mustache Baby!
    Barnes & Noble, Corte Madera
    Saturday, 11–11:45 am

    Come to Barnes & Noble for this special, fun-filled storytime featuring Mustache Baby (aka Baby Billy). Activities to follow. Location: 313 Corte Madera Town Center. For more info, visit their website.
  • San Francisco's 164th Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade and Festival
    Civic Center Plaza
    Saturday, 11:30 am–5 pm

    The colorful festivities and parade will showcase Irish culture through live performance and entertainment, arts and crafts exhibitors, food and beverage concessions, and children's rides and inflatables. The parade begins at 11:30 am at the corner of Second and Market Streets, where more than 5,000 participants from all over the USA will work their way City Hall. For more info, visit their website.
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